Best lubricant for exterior door locks

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azurekep
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Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by azurekep » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 pm

I'm experiencing two issues with an exterior door lock equipped with a deadbolt:

1. After locking the door, it's hard extracting the key; it sticks in the lock.

2. Once the door is locked, inserting the key and turning doesn't immediately retract the deadbolt and open the door. It takes several twists of the key is one direction, then another, and maybe some jiggling around in the lock. Eventually the door unlocks.

There isn't any problem when the door is held open. Turn the key and you can watch the deadbolt go back and forth. It's only when the door is closed that the problems arise.

I think the lock (or lock keyway) just needs lubrication. If not, I'd still like to have the most appropriate lubricant on hand in case it's needed in the future.

These are the top lubricant solutions that I've found on the Web:

1. Powdered graphite - a bit messy, but supposedly effective
2. Pencil lead (graphite) - is rubbed on both sides of key
3. A liquid lubricant containing teflon

WD-40 has mostly fallen out of favor. It attracts dust and dirt and is not considered a long-term fix.

I tried the pencil lead method, rubbing graphite on the key and inserting the key into the lock. It seemed a bit easier to extract the key, but it was still hard unlocking the door.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I posted an update (on page 1). Many thought there was a bigger issue than just lubrication. The update describes how a YouTube video showed how to determine if the deadbolt and strike plate were out of alignment. They were. A little elbow grease with a metal file solved the alignment problem.
Last edited by azurekep on Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nearing_Destination
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Nearing_Destination » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:37 pm

4. "Moly grease " (a molybdenum disulfide mix ) holds up to low temperatures and high temperatures too
Should be able to find it in hardware store. (Usually much cheaper than the teflon stuff,as well)


But sounds like the real problem is that the door is seizing and some adjustments to the door are needed. Look for areas of the door that aren't easily clearing the frame-- may need sanding or whatever to get back in shape. Before any work on it, check the door alignment top and bottom-- did it sink? YouTube can be your friend there for further tips.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by tadamsmar » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:58 am

You can sometimes improve the deadbolt action by tightening the hinge screws at the top and very slightly loosening the screws at the bottom. You can put a shim behind the hinge screws at the bottom. Also pulling or pushing the door while you turn the key might work. I have to pull a bit on my door to compress the weatherstripping to make the deadbolt easier to move.

WD 40 is more for rusty screw removal, not the best lubricant. It contains volatile hydrocarbons that evaporate pretty quickly.

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FraggleRock
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by FraggleRock » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:03 am


Chip
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Chip » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:20 am

I've used powdered graphite for many years. It works well, but it isn't always easy to get it everywhere inside the lock when applying it through the keyhole. Multiple applications may be necessary.

It's fairly easy to take a deadbolt apart and clean/lube it.

I agree with others that you may also have some bolt/strike plate alignment issues that need to be addressed.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:48 am

If the key is turning but the deadbolt isn't moving, there may be problems with the bolt and it may need to be replaced. I dealt with this recently and it slowly got worse till the bolt wouldn't retract. Something was worn internally and it eventually gave out and I couldn't unlock the door. Fortunately, DW was home.

If the key doesn't turn when the bolt doesn't move, then it likely is a lubrication or alignment issue.

jadedfalcons
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by jadedfalcons » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:03 am

Graphite is the best for locks. The tubes of dry are easy to find, and sometimes you'll also come across it in a small spray can with red straw. I don't remember the name, but it's a blue can with a white pop off lid. Use either of those liberally, then run your key in and out a few times, jiggle it around, but keep a rag handy to wipe the excess off the key.

It does sound like you may have bigger issues at play, but this is a cheap and easy solution to try out.

mancich
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by mancich » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:04 am

+1 for powdered graphite.

tigermilk
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by tigermilk » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:23 am

FraggleRock wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:03 am
My favorites are:
https://www.drislide.com
and
https://boeshield.com/products/
I'll second Boeshield. Used it on a lock that was barely cooperating. A year or more later it turns like butter. Boeshield goes on wet but will dry.

Sconie
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Sconie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:14 am

I have had excellent results with DuPont-Teflon-Non-Stick-Dry-Film-Lubricant, which is available from Amazon, etc.

It was recommended by the big commercial door/pad lock company, Best Locks, as being superior to powdered graphite, etc.
I know that you think you understand what you thought I said, but I don't think you realize that what I said is necessarily what I meant......

whomever
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by whomever » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:24 am

Either straight powdered graphite or graphite in a volatile carrier ('Lock-Ease' is one brand).

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Parthenon
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Parthenon » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:28 am

If you are having difficulty extracting the key from the lock that is usually caused by the portion of the key, the 'ramp', that comes in contact with the internal pins during key removal. If that part is rough it will make extraction difficult. Some duplication machines do so with very rough results. With a very fine file it can be smoothed out. The sharp points in between each cut serve no purpose and can be reduced to provide some relief during removal.

Graphite works well as a lubricant and using a blast of air will help distribute the graphite to all of the pins, or wafers, as the case may be.

Ed
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Pajamas
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Pajamas » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:49 am

Just get a little tube of graphite intended for that purpose for under $2 or so. If you have never used it, you might want to do a test squeeze first to make sure you get a good loose puff of graphite so it will be distributed properly in the keyhole. Then lock & unlock the door several times. If it is really sticking badly or a puff or two of graphite doesn't work, you might want to disassemble the lock, clean it with compressed air and a brush, lubricate it, and then re-install. As others are saying, a liquid like WD-40 is not a good choice except to clean a rusted or corroded lock.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by lthenderson » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:56 am

azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 pm
There isn't any problem when the door is held open. Turn the key and you can watch the deadbolt go back and forth. It's only when the door is closed that the problems arise.
My first solution would be to adjust the interface between the latch and the striker plate on the jam. Slight interference there can cause all those problems you mentioned. If you move the striker plate so that there is a slight gap when closed, your lock will go in easily as it does when the door is open. Any amount of graphite or other lubricates is not going to solve this problem as the striker will just scrape them off the first time you lock the door.

dbr
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:59 am

My experience is that graphite works very well for sticking keys. I can't help you with best. Good enough should be good enough, I would think. I agree some keys, especially duplicates, may just need burnishing. You could take the key to a locksmith and see if they can do something. They will also have a recommended lubricant.

The sticking deadbolt sounds like a different problem. How is it even possible to turn the key and not move the deadbolt unless the mechanism is broken. In any case it sounds like an alignment problem involving the mounting of the door or some shifting of the door frame or something that has been bent by someone. In my house humidity changes with the seasons can cause problems with the operation of some doors and windows.

azurekep
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by azurekep » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:40 am

Parthenon wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:28 am
Graphite works well as a lubricant and using a blast of air will help distribute the graphite to all of the pins, or wafers, as the case may be.
The air blast is a neat trick. I'll keep that in mind.

I see from the responses that I'll need to learn more about the parts of a door. Once I find a pictorial glossary, I'll be able to better understand the advice. In the meantime, I'll be stopping by a hardware store soon to look at their lubricant products.

sixtyforty
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by sixtyforty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:32 pm

I use Ballistol for about everything around the house. Works great. Non-toxic & safe on the environment. Was invented by the Germans in World War 1 as a CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant & Protectant) for firearms.

My mailbox lock was sticking almost to the point that I thought I was going to break the key trying to turn it. I sprayed a little ballistol in the keyhole and it's been smooth ever since. That was over 3 years ago.


https://www.amazon.com/Ballistol-Multi- ... =ballistol
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daveydoo
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by daveydoo » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:00 pm

azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 pm
I'm experiencing two issues with an exterior door lock equipped with a deadbolt:

1. After locking the door, it's hard extracting the key; it sticks in the lock.
We used a silicone spray last year for this exact issue -- now crazy smooth. I would not use WD-40. I've used graphite on hinges before and on locks in the past but makes a mess when you put the key back in your pocket.

kaneohe
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by kaneohe » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:49 pm

azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 pm
I................................
There isn't any problem when the door is held open. Turn the key and you can watch the deadbolt go back and forth. It's only when the door is closed that the problems arise.

...........................................
Agree w/others that you may have some alignment problems that prevent free movement of the deadbolt. Perhaps try pulling or pushing the doorknob while turning the key to see if that helps.

clutchied
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by clutchied » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:51 am

azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 pm
I'm experiencing two issues with an exterior door lock equipped with a deadbolt:

1. After locking the door, it's hard extracting the key; it sticks in the lock.

2. Once the door is locked, inserting the key and turning doesn't immediately retract the deadbolt and open the door. It takes several twists of the key is one direction, then another, and maybe some jiggling around in the lock. Eventually the door unlocks.

There isn't any problem when the door is held open. Turn the key and you can watch the deadbolt go back and forth. It's only when the door is closed that the problems arise.

I think the lock (or lock keyway) just needs lubrication. If not, I'd still like to have the most appropriate lubricant on hand in case it's needed in the future.

These are the top lubricant solutions that I've found on the Web:

1. Powdered graphite - a bit messy, but supposedly effective
2. Pencil lead (graphite) - is rubbed on both sides of key
3. A liquid lubricant containing teflon

WD-40 has mostly fallen out of favor. It attracts dust and dirt and is not considered a long-term fix.

I tried the pencil lead method, rubbing graphite on the key and inserting the key into the lock. It seemed a bit easier to extract the key, but it was still hard unlocking the door.

Thanks in advance.

I use white lithium grease. I basically just stuff the tube up to the lock and squeeze. Most of it goes in and then I'll push the key and and do the lock / unlock / remove insert a bunch of times. Excess is wiped clean.

I'll do this until until the key is coming out clean.

the lock returns to flawless operation almost immediately.

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CABob
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by CABob » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:48 pm

There isn't any problem when the door is held open. Turn the key and you can watch the deadbolt go back and forth. It's only when the door is closed that the problems arise.
This makes me think that perhaps the bolt itself needs a lubricant also. I usually use a white lithium grease on them when they start to bind.
Bob

azurekep
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:57 pm

UPDATE:

As many predicted, it was an alignment issue. I couldn't see anything out of alignment but I found a YouTube video that showed how to check for misalignment between the deadbolt and the strike plate.

Basically, you put a marker on the end of the bolt to be used to identify where the bolt is striking the strike plate. I used chalk. When I locked the door and opened it again, I found a white chalk mark on the left side of the strike-plate aperture. I filed the side down with a metal file and voila!, the lock opened and closed perfectly.

Earlier, I had tried lubricating the keyway/lock and I started with powdered graphite (cuz it was cheap. :mrgreen: ) It did a great job, as far as lubrication goes, but that wasn't the real problem. In any case, I found the graphite too messy for indoor use and will limit it to outside use. I'll get one of the liquid lubricants for doors that I have to work on from the inside.

whomever
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by whomever » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:51 pm

"In any case, I found the graphite too messy for indoor use and will limit it to outside use."

n.b. the mess is temporary. Wipe off the key (knob??) and you won't have an ongoing problem.

azurekep
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:14 pm

whomever wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:51 pm
"In any case, I found the graphite too messy for indoor use and will limit it to outside use."

n.b. the mess is temporary. Wipe off the key (knob??) and you won't have an ongoing problem.
Some of the graphite got on the carpet. I had put paper towels down where I thought some graphite would fall IF it fell. Turns out I should have laid down more towels. Graphic is a bear to get out of carpet. Luckily it was a small amount.

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Lemonaid56
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by Lemonaid56 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:16 am

I use several different brands of dry silicone lubricant. You spray it in the keyhole and you spray it on the key. Work the key in and out a few times and turn the lock several times. I will re-spray again to make sure its getting good and worked in there.
The dry spray does not attract dust or dirt and does not run down the door. I do this once a year or so as needed and the dry grease works great on the hinges and around the house for other purposes.
I have tried graphite and some liquid stuff like wd-40 or similar and they all attract dirt or run down the door or leave a messy residue. This works the best.

deikel
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by deikel » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:13 pm

If OP is correct and there is no problem with taking out the key, turning the key or the bolt WHEN THE DOOR IS OPEN, than clearly the issue is the door being in the closed state - meaning its not a lubrication question of the lock mechanism, something is twisting the lock when the door is closed.

Maybe the door bolt rubs on the metal and twists the door such that the lock gets in an angle ? I doubt that lubrication of the lock mechanism and key will fix this, rather check the part where the bolt slides into when closed and correct position and flex off parts that are rubbing on the bolt or check if the door gets lifted up when closing on the door silt or the lock gets twisted when closing the door for other reasons.

my 2 cents
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azurekep
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by azurekep » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:30 pm

deikel wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:13 pm
If OP is correct and there is no problem with taking out the key, turning the key or the bolt WHEN THE DOOR IS OPEN, than clearly the issue is the door being in the closed state - meaning its not a lubrication question of the lock mechanism, something is twisting the lock when the door is closed.

Maybe the door bolt rubs on the metal and twists the door such that the lock gets in an angle ? I doubt that lubrication of the lock mechanism and key will fix this, rather check the part where the bolt slides into when closed and correct position and flex off parts that are rubbing on the bolt or check if the door gets lifted up when closing on the door silt or the lock gets twisted when closing the door for other reasons.

my 2 cents
It turned out to be an alignment problem. When I first described the problem, I forgot to mention that the door normally has to be pushed in or pulled out a bit when locking/unlocking. That has become so second-nature that I no longer realized it was happening and didn't report on it. The need to push/pull is the sign of an alignment issue.

A YouTube video showed how to check the alignment between the deadbolt and the strike plate. There was a mismatch and I corrected it. (Details of the procedure are a few posts up. I hope it helps others who run into this problem.)

gamboolman
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Re: Best lubricant for exterior door locks

Post by gamboolman » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:06 am

jadedfalcons wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:03 am
Graphite is the best for locks. The tubes of dry are easy to find, and sometimes you'll also come across it in a small spray can with red straw.

Graphite is best

EZ game....

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